Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Imperial Knights 8th Edition Codex Review: Part 2- Strategems

Part 2 of my 8th edition Imperial Knights codex review will take a look at the Stratagems available in the new book. 

Ion Aegis (2CP)- Use at the start of your opponent's movement phase. Choose a Dominus Knight in your army. The Knight cannot move until the end of the next turn, but all friendly Imperium units  wholly within 6" of the Knight gain a 5+ invulnerable save against ranged weapons. 

This is a pretty strong stratagem if you don't get the first turn. This will work really well for some Imperial allies you may wish to take with your Knights, with the Guard Battalion for command point farming. This will be strong for the Knight Castellan, which has a lot of powerful, long ranged firepower. As this works on the whole unit, you may not get a lot of units in range, but it still should still help a number of units. 

Noble Sacrifice (2CP)- Use before you roll to see if an Imperial Knight explodes. On a 4+, it explodes. If a Dominus Class Knight, roll two dice, if any is a 4+, it explodes. If both dice are 4+, then all units in 3D6" are affected. 

This could be quite powerful in the right cirumstances. Doing D6 mortal wounds to nearby enemy units after losing a Knight could help to kill their attackers (if in combat) or damage nearby enemy units. I don't see it being used too often, but could be key in a few games. 

Thunderstomp (1CP)- An enemy Infantry unit (or swarm) within 1" suffers D3 mortal wounds on a 4+. Titanic units only. 

A cheap way to do mortal wounds to an enemy unit in combat to finish them off. Though, Knights are tough to tie up in combat now, so may not be necessary much of the time. 

Skyreaper Protocols (1CP)- Use of an Armiger Helverin when attacking a unit that can Fly. Until the end of the phase, you can re-roll failed To Hit rolls for the Armiger's Autocannons. 

This is a powerful ability to use against enemy flyers. The Armiger Autocannons are a powerful weapon and this should help them taking out enemy Fly units. This will also help with the -1 to hit against Flyer units. 

Rotate Ion Shields (1CP/3CP)- Select an Imperial Knight vehicle from your army. The unit adds 1 to their invulnerable save until the end of the phase (up to 3+). Costs 3CP for a Dominus Class Knight. 

This will be the stratagem that will probably see use in every single game with the Knights. This takes the invulnerable save of one Knight up to 4+ in most instances (3+ with the right warlord trait). This gives a great defensive boost for one of the units in your army. Using it for the Dominus Class Knights is pretty expensive at 3CP, but these units can put out a lot of potent firepower and greater protection for them is a big boost. 

Heirlooms of the Household (1CP/3CP)- Allows to to make one Knight a character with a relic for 1CP or two characters and two Relics for 3CP. 

Some of the Knight Relics are pretty potent, so this is a good bonus for the army in most games. In some scenarios this has the potential to have a huge impact on the game. 

Exalted Court (1CP/3CP)- Allows you to make one Knight a character for 1CP or two Knights characters for 2CP. Each character chosen gets a warlord trait (only count as warlord for the purposes of this trait). 

Not too bad, as some of the generic warlord traits are pretty good. You would be as well doing this simply to access the Cunning Commander warlord trait, giving you one command point for the one you are spending and giving you a free re-roll into the bargain. 

Pack Hunters (1CP)- Use when an Armiger Wargalive has charged. Until the end of the phase, all friendly Armiger Warglaives can re-roll failed charges when they are within 12" of the model. 

Pretty situational, but a nice bonus to ensure that you make your charge with your units when you need to do so. 

Oathbreaker Guidance System (2CP)- When using a Shieldbreaker missile in the shooting phase, the missile can target a unit that is not visible to the bearer, and can target Characters even if they are not the closest model. 

The Shieldbreaker Missile is a 48" range, S10, AP-4 D6 damage weapon that ignores invulnerable saves. This is a pretty potent combination when combined with the stratagem, meaning that the only way an enemy character is safe is if they are not on the table or are out of range. With a lucky damage roll, this will allow you to kill off the enemy warlord in a single shot. This is great for taking out key characters or stopping the all important "regain command points" warlord traits/relics. 

Full Tilt (2CP)- An Imperial Knight Vehicle can assault and charge in the same turn. 

Very useful for House Teryn, who can add 2" to their advance and charge moves (with the Landstrider warlord trait), giving them a big distance for their range. Also useful for House Raven, allowing you to advance, still fire most of your weapons and still charge into combat. Situational, but very useful when you can pull it off. 

Devastating Reach (1CP)- Allows you to charge an enemy unit that is in ruins and not on the ground floor. If you end your charge move within 2" horizontally and 6" vertically, the Knight can make close combat attacks against the enemy unit. Cannot use the Titanic Feet ability. 

Again, quite situational, but useful to get at impossible to charge units with the Imperial Knight. As you cannot use Titanic Feet, you will be limited to a handful of attacks, so will not be wiping out entire units in most cases. 

Ironhail Heavy Stubbers (1CP)- Used before the game begins, makes all Heavy Stubbers in a single detachment AP-1. 

Not a bad stratagem and useful if you have a lot of Heavy Stubbers in the detachment, but I'm not sure it is worth the command point. 

Chainsweep (1CP)- Used on a Knight with a Reaper Chainsword. Roll a D6 for each enemy model within 3", on a 6, they take a mortal wound. 

This is great if you find yourself surrounded by a horde unit of enemy models, a good chance to cause extra wounds in combat. 

Death Grip (1CP)- Use after fighting with a Thunderstrike Gauntlet. You select a single enemy unit within 3" comprised of a single model and make a single attack. If it hits, the model suffers D3 mortal wounds. Players then roll off and add their Strength value. If your roll equals or beats your opponent's roll, the model suffers an additional D3 mortal wounds. Keep rolling off until your opponent beats your roll.

This is a fantastic stratagem, which has the potential to cause serious damage to a single enemy model. This will be great for taking on any characters or big monsters/vehicles. With a strength of 8 on most Knights, you will have a good chance of beating the roll for most opponents, meaning this 1CP stratagem can be very powerful for causing multiple mortal wounds. This is great for getting round good invulnerable saves or Feel No Pain type saves.

Bonded Oathsmen (1CP)- Used at the end of the enemy charge phase, you can select one Questoris/Dominus Class Knight that was charged. All friendly Armiger Class Knights within 6" can perform a heroic intervention, and can move 6" to do so.

This can be useful for the Armiger Warglaives who are quite potent in combat, but less useful for the Armiger Helverins, whose strength lies in shooting. This can help cause extra damage to enemy units, but I don't see it being used too often.

Valiant Last Stand (2CP)- Use when a Questor Imperialis Knight is killed, but does not explode. The model may either shoot as if it were the shooting phase or fight as though it is the fight phase, counting as having one wound remaining.

In theory, this seems like a decent stratagem, but you will be hitting on a 5+ in most cases when using this. It may be useful for those Knights with a high volume of firepower or for a weapon that hits automatically. Overall, it is a bit expensive at 2CP, but could be useful for finishing off a damaged enemy unit if you have the command points to spare.

Benevolence of the Machine God (1CP)- Model gains a 5+ save against mortal wounds for the rest of the phase.

Quite good for saving a Knight from psychic mortal wounds or from additional mortal wounds in combat, such as from Death Grip above. Situational, but could come in useful. Questor Mechanicus only.

Machine Spriit Resurrenge (1CP)- Played at the start of the turn on a Questor Mechanicus Knight. The Knight counts as being on full wounds for the profile table for its characteristics until the end of the turn.

This is another incredibly powerful stratagem, allowing a damaged Knight to fight to full effectiveness for a turn for only a single command point. This is great, as in a full Knight army, you won't have too many models, so getting the most out of them each turn is going to boost your army's effectiveness. I think this will be a key stratagem for the Knights as well.

Sally Forth (3CP)- Allows a Questor Imperialias Questoris or Armiger Knight to outflank instead of deploying normally. At the end of any movement phase, the Knight may set up anywhere within 6" of a battlefield edge, at least 9" from an enemy unit. Can only be used once per battle.

This could be a powerful stratagem to use in the right circumstances, but is very expensive at 3CP. It might be worth it though to have an Imperial Knight rampaging through your opponent's back lines from turn 2 onwards, as well as keeping them safe from enemy firepower for those turns.

Slayer of Shadows (1CP)- Use on a House Mortan Knight in your army in your shooting phase. Until the end of the phase, the unit ignores all modifiers to hit when making attacks.

This is a useful stratagem against a number of armies, such as Flyers, Alaitoc, Malanthropes, etc. It also negates the use of stratagems such as Lightning Fast Reflexes or psychic powers that cause penalties to hit. This could be very useful on a Knight with a lot of potent firepower. This is a strong stratagem and only costs one command point.

Glory in Honour! (3CP)- Allows a Knight Terryn to fight again in the Fight phase.

This is the standard 3CP fight again strategy that most armies now get, but is only available to the Terryn House. This could be a very powerful ability with the right Knight, but is expensive at 3CP.

Order of Companions (2CP)- Use at the start of the shooting phase. A House Raven model may re-roll all rolls of 1 for the remainder of the phase, including to hit rolls, to wound rolls, damage rolls, etc.

This is a strong ability once more, allowing you to re-roll half of your failed misses and wound rolls in most cases. It also allows you to re-roll the number of shots for a weapon, getting a better chance of getting more shots from the weapons.

Our Darkest Hour (2CP)- Use when House Taranis model is reduced to 0 wounds, but did not explode. On a 4+, set up the model again at the end of the phase, with D3 wounds remaining.

This can be pretty good, allowing you to keep a slain model alive for longer and potentially do some more damage to the enemy army before having to remove it again. It also gets set up at the end of the phase, meaning that the "slain" model should be safe from further shooting attacks or close combat attacks before it returns.

Saturation Bombardment (1CP)- Used on a House Vulker model in the shooting phase. Each unmodified roll of a 6 to hit with a shooting attack scores 2 hits instead of 1.

Useful on a weapon with a large volume of fire, such as the Gatling Cannon. Has the potential to do a lot of damage if you roll some good 6's to hit.

Dragonslayer (2CP)- Used on a House Griffith model in the shooting phase or fight phase. You can add 1 to the wound rolls against a unit containing models with 10 or more wounds.

This is useful for taking out other enemy vehicles or superheavies in combat, allowing you to wound on a 2+ in cases where they have a powerful combat weapon.

Controlled Aggression (1CP)- Used in the Fight phase before attacking with a House Krast model. Until the end of the phase, each unmodified roll of a 6 to hit scores 2 hits instead of 1 (or 3 hits in the case of Chaos units).

Again, a strong stratagem for a combat Knight when coupled with the House Krast Household trait. This will be good with Titanic Feet ability, giving you more chances to score 6's to hit.

Bio-Scryer Cogitator Array (3CP)- Use immediately after your opponent has set up a unit from reserve. A House Cadmus unit within 12" can shoot at it as if it were the shooting phase.

This is the Imperial Knight's version of the Auspex Array stratagem. It is a little more expensive than most, but you do not suffer the -1 to hit that most versions suffer. In addition, most Knights have powerful shooting attacks that could decimate an enemy unit arriving from reserve. Not the best of the Houses to have to use this with, but a very powerful ability for these units.

Staunch Allies (2CP)- Use after an enemy unit declares a charge against an Imperium unit from your army. Choose a House Hawkshroud model that is more than 1" from the enemy and within 12" of the unit receiving the charge. The model may fire Overwatch at the charging enemy unit. In addition, if the charge is successful, the model can perform a heroic intervention as if it were a character, moving 2D6", but must end its move closer to the unit that charged, but cannot end its move within 1" of another enemy unit.

This could be an incredibly powerful ability with the correct Knight, especially on weapons that hit automatically. Your opponent could be expecting to charge an infantry unit or vehicle, but suddenly have the firepower and combat ability of an Imperial Knight to content with. The rule does stop you from using a heroic intervention to charge another enemy unit though, so no using this to get to another target other than the charging enemy unit.

As you can see, the Imperial Knights get a ton of new stratagems to use, a whole four pages of great new abilities to use!

I can see Rotate Ion Shields, Oathbreaker Guidance Systems and Machine Spirit Resurgent to be very popular choices and used a lot. Some of the House specific stratagems are also very useful in the right circumstances.

8th Edition Imperial Knights Codex Review
Part 1- Household Traditions and Warlord Traits
Part 2- Stratagems
Part 3- Relics
Part 4- Armiger Class Knights
Part 5- Knight Castellan
Part 6- Knight Valiant


  1. Thanks for the overview.

    I can see the cheap guard command point battery being used to power some of these great stratagems. I not looking forward to fighting zombie knights that stand back up 75% of the time after dying (3CP for Our Darkest Hour and a Reroll) and the operate normally the next turn with Machine Sprint Resurgence (1CP). 4 CPs in total, but the guard battery should recover at least 1.

    1. Yeah, the cheap Guard command point farm is definitely going to be strong with the Imperial Knights. They need some cheap screens and a way to regenerate command points.

  2. A few notes on some of these:
    - Thunderstomp. I want to use this one just for the name. "I'm going to Thunderstomp your Custodian Guard into little bits!"
    - Heirlooms of the Household and Exalted Court: Turning those Knights into Characters is also a non-negligible benefit. It doesn't provide the protection that it does to smaller Characters, but being able to perform Heroic Interventions is a very powerful option in the right situation, as a few people found out at the BAO last weekend. Note also that they can't be used on Armigers, only Questoris or Dominus Class Knights.
    - Oathbreaker Guidance System: Certainly a powerful threat, but even on a 4 Wound Character with no FNP-type defense, there's only about a 28% chance of taking them out in one shot, given all the potential points of failure that still remain.
    - Devastating Reach: Disappointingly, this doesn't let you stay locked in combat with that Unit, or (often more importantly) keep them locked up. After the Charge, you go back to the usual system of measuring from the base. Still cool, tho.
    - Death Grip: This one is just amazing for taking out certain annoying single Models. Particularly notable for the fact that there are no restrictions beyond the target Unit containing only a single Model. Many Vehicles, for instance, have fairly moderate Strength scores, and it's very possible to crush a Predator or something in one go with this. On the other hand, it does need to hit *with the Thunderstrike Gauntlet*, so probably best to take the Paragon Gauntlet if you really want to use this one. Also, like Thunderstomp, it's lots of fun to declare!
    - Bonded Oathsmen: I think this one is more useful as a threat than in its actual use. It makes Charging a Knight with multiple nearby Armigers a very sketchy proposition.
    - Valiant Last Stand: Seems most useful for either a Gallant (which doesn't degrade past WS4+), or a Valiant, with that Auto-hitting Conflagration Cannon. Honestly, probably a good thing that it can't be combined with Machine Spirit Resurgent.
    - Sally Forth: Worth noting that it doesn't select one Knight, it selects one Knight Unit. Armigers split up after Deployment, but for this purpose, since it replaces the Unit's normal Deployment, up to three of them can be a single Unit to send around the flank.
    - Slayer of Shadows: This alone makes Mortan worth a real good hard look. Excellent to have available as a counter to things like Alaitoc Hemlocks and such.
    - Our Darkest Hour: This Stratagem is the main thing drawing me toward House Taranis. Combined with some AdMech Characters and Stratagems that can repair Knights, I can see it being incredibly strong on occasion.
    - Bio-Scryer Cogitator: Similarly, this one makes a strong argument for House Cadmus in a list that doesn't have much in the way of screens for its Knights.

    1. Slayer of Shadows is incredibly strong on a Knight, but is expensive at 3CP. I thought Knights would have something like this for a generic stratagme, but that would be pretty killer in the army. Probably only useful on one of the big Knights.

    2. It's only listed as 1CP in my copy of the Codex. And in your review above, actually ;)

    3. Sorry, I was getting confused between the stratagems! Slayer of shadows is the one that removes the negative modifiers, I was thinking of the intercept one that allows you to fire at reserves.

      Yes, ignoring modifiers is incredibly strong with many of the tournament armies seeing popularity, particulary the Aeldari forces that can stack the negative modifiers.